Biden says voting rights still ‘under attack’ in Selma

Mr. Biden called for redistricting in Alabama, where activists have said the vote of the state’s black residents is being diluted.


How Times reporters see politics We trust our journalists to be independent observers. So when Times employees vote, they are not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money or raising money for any political candidate or electoral cause.

“Come here for the memory, not the show, Selma is an account,” said Mr. Biden said. “The right to vote, the right to vote, to count your vote is the gateway to democracy and freedom. With that, anything is possible. Without that, without that right, nothing is possible.

While in office, Mr. Biden has introduced two voting rights pieces of legislation, including a bill in which civil rights icon John Lewis and Georgia Democrat were among the protesters who were attacked while trying to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday. .

Mr. who died in 2020. The bill named for Lewis would have restored a key part of the landmark Voting Rights Act. The provision relies on a formula to identify states with a history of discrimination and require those jurisdictions to make any changes to their voting processes with the federal government. Those protections were taken away by the Supreme Court in 2013.

But the John Lewis Voting Rights Act failed in the Democratic-controlled Congress, and now that it has shifted to Republican control, it has little chance of passing. The People’s Act, an overhaul of federal election laws, also failed.

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The president gave a fiery speech in 2021 warning that Republican-led efforts to restrict voting across the country would be “the most important test of our democracy since the Civil War.” But in recent months, Mr. The tone of Biden’s fiery speeches has changed. Now, as the president speaks on the issue, his comments have led to something closer to a public acknowledgment that the fight for voting rights may go on longer than he initially promised.

“Look, I’ve been accused of being a fanatic,” said Mr. Biden said in a speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta in January, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached often. “Progress is never easy, but saving the soul of the country is absolutely necessary.”

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